This site uses cookies to provide you with a better user experience. By using, you accept our use of cookies.Learn More

Mary Lyon Elementary School

Providing approximately 56,000 sq ft of innovative learning spaces for students, this replacement elementary school is a place for the community to gather and continue making its own history.

Tacoma Public Schools
Tacoma, WA
2018 Completed
56,675 sq ft Area
3 Storeys

Serving 450 students with programs for inclusive autism, ESL, and pre-kindergarten through to grade 5, Mary Lyon Elementary School will provide dedicated educators with a collaborative setting, valuable engagement services, and act as a beacon of hope for this tight-knit but under-served neighborhood.

The three-story building and L-shaped plan preserve its valuable outdoor space for play on one of Tacoma’s smallest school sites, while an entry plaza both invites the community in and honors the school’s tradition of each teacher, parent, and student gathering at the day’s transitions for camaraderie and security.

A boldly-designed library dramatically spans all three stories of the school, and references to the Puget Sound setting are woven into the building’s architectural and site elements. The rich themes offer different layers of discovery and a sense of equity and empathy amongst students of various backgrounds. Classroom neighborhoods with moving walls allow for camaraderie, informal learning in shared areas, and flexibility of project-based modes of learning and gathering in this next-generation Learning+ facility.

Expressive and practical sustainability is embedded throughout the design, from storm water features to exterior sun shades, and roofs covered with large arrays of photovoltaic panels.

A new generation of minds is reshaping the way we approach education at all levels of learning.
This three-storey elementary school will provide an inclusive space for students and the surrounding Tacoma community.

Find out more about Learning+
Ross Parker

Associate Principal | Education, Buildings
Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA

Ross is a senior architect and learning environment planner with more than 30 years of experience, with the past 20 years specializing in educational architecture. He is highly experienced in all phases of projects, from visioning through to final completion; and in a wide variety of project sizes, including new construction, renovation, historic preservation and reuse, and STEM focused schools.

A seasoned advocate for K-12 education, he has seen two of his projects recognized by the CEFPI (now A4LE) James D. MacConnell Awards committee. Ross is passionate about using design to connect students to their learning and natural environment and is a strong proponent of inclusive and culturally relevant community engagement for schools. His volunteer efforts include “working the phones” in support of school districts’ capital bond measures, local food banks and community non-profits, and speaking engagements at educational design conferences.